Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 Memory

Affordable high-performance desktop RAM

Shoppers of desktop memory are probably very familiar with Crucial, a brand that has been in business since 1996 and became synonymous with their online Memory Advisor tool (originally the Crucial Memory Selector when that was introduced back in 1998). Beyond offering compatible memory adhering to JEDEC standards for home and business machines Crucial has embraced the enthusiast segment, and since 2004 the Ballistix brand has been a competitor in this space.

Today we’re taking a look at new Ballistix memory in the form of a dual-channel DDR4 desktop kit that offers 3200 MT/s speeds out of the box via XMP 2.0, and has the potential to overclock further. Crucial sent along both 16GB and 32GB kits, and we are focusing on the 16GB kit in this review.

Product highlights for the Ballistix Sport LT series from Crucial:

  • Speeds start at 2400 MT/s
  • Faster speeds and responsiveness than standard DDR4 memory
  • Ideal for gamers and performance enthusiasts
  • Multi-channel memory architecture maximizes data rates
  • Digital camo heat spreader available in white, gray and red
  • Easy plug-and-play installation
  • Intel XMP 2.0 profiles for easy configuration
  • AMD Ryzen Ready
  • Optimized for the latest Intel 300 Series platforms
  • Limited lifetime warranty

These UDIMMs are part of the Sport LT series, offering a smaller overall footprint while still providing some impressive performance numbers via XMP 2.0 profiles. We tested it out in an Intel system and then moved on to have some fun with memory overclocking in a Ryzen 5 2400G system with integrated Vega graphics. Read on to see how it performed, and if faster memory can make a noticeable difference.

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz Specifications
Series Ballistix Sport
Model Number 16GB Kit: BLS2K8G4D32AESBK
32GB Kit: BLS2K16G4D32AESB
Speed 3200 MT/s (PC4-25600)
Timings 16-18-18
Voltage 1.35V
Form Factor UDIMM
DIMM Type Unbuffered
Configuration 2048Meg x 64
Warranty Limited Lifetime

Current Pricing and Availability:

The Sport LT modules are available in three colors, with white and red finishes offered as well as the gray version we have in for review. These LT DIMMs offer a lower-profile heatsink that extends only slightly above the standard DIMM height, making them more compatible with various CPU coolers while still offering enhanced heat dissipation to assist with the overclocking potential associated with 1.35V DDR4 memory.

Performance – Intel System

One of the hardest things to do when assessing computer memory is establishing real-world performance gains. Sure, synthetic memory tests can show an immediate and sometimes significant performance uplift from faster speeds and lower latency, but translating this into obvious improvements for everyday use can be difficult. This is not the case with systems relying on integrated graphics which make use of system memory as VRAM, and here you can never have too much memory bandwidth. Increases to memory speed with AMD APUs have been a great benchmark, as faster memory directly translates into higher FPS numbers in games as these iGPUs are bandwidth constrained.

Back when I was first trying to figure out how to review memory five years ago I first attempted to run benchmarks with an intel system before quickly moving on to an AMD platform with the highest-end (at the time) APU. My pair of DDR3 sticks rated at up to 2666 MHz did indeed make a big difference, especially considering DDR3’s standard 1600 MHz speed. I had not re-visited the labourious and generally unexciting world of memory benchmarking until getting these Crucial sticks in for review, but at least I knew going in larger and more useful gains were going to be obvious on the AMD side of things.

On the Intel platform I tested the Ballistix Sport LT modules extensively at their rated speed and voltage using the XMP 2.0 profile, and it was completely stable in normal use and through all benchmark runs.

PC Perspective Intel Z390 Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3200
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
Storage CORSAIR Neutron XTi 480GB SSD
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit

To attempt to assess performance we begin with some preliminary results using AIDA64 to demonstrate the throughput of the memory beginning with its default 2400 MT/s speed and ranging up to the highest stable overclock I could get without adding much voltage past 1.35V.

The memory timings begin with 16-16-16-39 at DDR-2400, with the XMP 2.0 profile offering 16-18-18-36 at DDR-3200. I attempted to improve on the XMP timings at 3200 MT/s and was able to tighten thse up a little when increasing the voltage. I also found DDR4-3600 to be easily reached, with timings of 18-18-18-40, after a voltage increase to ~1.370V (this board offers memory adjustment in .010V increments); and with some additional work/higher voltage I could have hit some better numbers.

As expected in this synthetic benchmark the performance scaled perfectly as memory bandwidth increased. So how to put this to good use? There are certainly applications that can take advantage of higher memory clocks, such as 7-Zip. Rather than use the built-in benchmark tool I decided to create a folder of exactly 5GB filled with an assortment of file types, and then compressed it using .7z at the maximum setting.

From the stock 2400 to the XMP profile at 3200 there was a significant jump, with the total time dropping over 30 seconds just in this short compression test. Compression/decompression are memory intensive so fast RAM will help cut down on some pretty significant time here even in this short test scenario. What follows is an example of very minor improvements from memory speed, as I found when experimenting with the latest version of the HWBot x265 benchmark.

While barely perceptible the gains in the brief 4K benchmark are measurable and would translate to some time savings in a longer encoding tasks, and in future it may prove more useful to time a typical encoding task using Handbrake.

There were no surprises with these quick Intel platform benchmarks, and one of the hardest things to do when assessing computer memory (on Intel systems anyhow) is establishing real-world performance gains. Yes, synthetic memory tests can – and did – show an immediate and sometimes significant performance uplift from faster speeds and lower latency, but translating this into obvious improvements for everyday use can be tricky (and time-consuming).

It makes a lot of sense to focus on the AMD side for system performance, as Ryzen CPUs are well known for benefiting from increases in memory bandwidth, and going forward we can do just that. For now, however, we will take a quick look at gaming performance with integrated graphics using a Ryzen 5 2400G.

Performance – AMD System with iGPU

I think we all know at this point about the importance of fast memory with Ryzen processors, with Infinity Fabric relying on RAM bandwidth for faster CPU performance across CCX units, and to this end more benchmarking will be done with the next RAM review. For this review, however, I concentrated on validating the 3200 MHz speed on the AMD B450 platform, and the benchmarks on the AMD side are limited to my experiments with a Ryzen 5 2400G processor which offers Vega graphics onboard. Compared to the Intel side of things benchmarking memory is easy with systems relying on integrated graphics, as these of course make use of system memory as VRAM. In this scenario you can never have too much memory bandwidth and increases to memory speed with AMD APUs have been a great benchmark in the past, offering a compelling real-world example of what faster RAM is capable of.

So using an AMD B450 system equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 2400G with integrated Vega 11 graphics it was time to test some 1920×1080 gaming. You may notice that voltage was a little higher with the overclocked memory here compared to the Intel system, and for whatever reason I need to push things to 1.380V with this test setup. In the past I have had to run slightly higher voltages for stable RAM overclocks on AMD platforms, but that could be coincidental.

PC Perspective AMD B450 Test Platform
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3200
Graphics Card Integrated RX Vega 11 Graphics
Storage CORSAIR Neutron XTi 480GB SSD
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
CPU Cooler be quiet! Dark Rock 4
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit

I tested just a couple of games here, with Civilization VI known to use a mix of CPU and GPU, and Ashes of the Singularity Escalation (using the Vulkan API) is another game that provides a good test of the overall system.

In Civ 6 the average FPS improved from 28.96 with the default 2400 MHz speed to 31.69 at the XMP equivalent, moving up to 32.44 with the memory overclocked further to 3466 MHz.

In Ashes there was a more significant jump from the default 2400 MHz to 3200 MHz, with averages moving from 37.67 to 42.49 FPS. The 3466 MHz overclock presented a lower than expected boost, with an average of 42.83 FPS.

Yes, faster memory can directly translate into higher FPS numbers in games as this RX Vega 11 iGPU is quite obviously bandwidth-constrained. It's worth noting that with Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation in particular the lower latency of the XMP-equivalent settings provided more consistent frame times, as the max stable 3466 MHz OC's looser timings offered very little over the 3200 MT/s rating of this memory with its solid 16-18-18-36 XMP timings at that speed.


Crucial's Ballistix Sport LT memory is priced competitively, offers excellent performance out of the box with XMP profiles that provide very good speeds and timings with zero effort, and these DDR4-3200 kits are a fine addition to the series. As someone who has upgraded and supported many OEM systems over the years I have been personally buying Crucial memory for a long time, and the Ballistix brand – while 15 years old itself at this point – is perhaps something of a sleeper in the high-performance RAM market. If you compare specs on memory you might be surprised at how competitive Ballistix memory tends to be, and this model in particular at 3200 MT/s with 16-18-18-36 is an excellent performer and a great value at its current pricing.

Beyond its default settings I also found this Ballistix Sport LT 3200 memory to overclock up to 3466 MHz on the AMD platform and 3600 MHz on the Intel system without any trouble, and more adventurous overclockers will likely find better timings than I did at these speeds. And whether you choose to use the XMP profile or try overclocking yourself, these are easily recommended as they provided reliable performance through all testing.